Council members seek sales tax numbers from the state

Dalton City Council members could soon have a better idea of where sales tax revenue in the city is coming from.

Council members voted 3-0 on Monday to request data on all sales taxes paid by vendors in the city from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Mayor Dennis Mock typically votes only in the event of a tie, and council member Denise Wood was absent.

The state Department of Revenue collects sales taxes and remits them back to cities and counties. A state law passed in 2018 allows cities and counties to ask the department for sales tax data in order to validate that taxes are being remitted to the appropriate entity.

Under the law, each year a local government can ask for information on sales taxes collected from each vendor within its jurisdiction. After receiving that data, it can ask the Department of Revenue to validate that the taxes of up to 10 of those vendors are being remitted to the appropriate government.

"Previously, it was very hard to get this sort of data," said council member Gary Crews. "We hope this will give us a better idea of where those funds are trickling down from."

Council member Annalee Harlan said "it's just good standard practice" for the council members to learn more about where the city's revenues are coming from.

City officials project the sales tax will bring in $5.8 million this year, about 25 percent of total revenue.

Council members also voted 3-0 to:

• Approve a request by Karen Green to rezone to central business district from transitional commercial 0.52 acres at 201 W. Morris St. Green plans to put in four ground-floor apartments in the back of Fashion Cleaners.

• Approve a $5,500 change order for a contract with Northwest Georgia Paving for additional tree clearing on Botany Woods Drive. The company is repairing the failing westbound lane of the street, which buckled several weeks ago following heavy and persistent rain.

In the public comments section of the council's meeting, Kathryn Sellers, chairman of the Dalton-Whitfield County Public Library, asked council members to consider increasing funding for the library. The city provided about $255,000 in funding to the library last year. Sellers said some local staff of the library are being paid less than $10 an hour.

• Approve the city's five-year consolidated plan, which is needed to qualify for federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The plan sets out the city's priorities for such funding: affordable housing, public facility and infrastructure improvements, and services for youth, the elderly, the homeless and other at-risk groups.

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